New Bern Wrongful Death Lawyer
Wrongful Death Attorneys in New Bern, NC
Wrongful death is a claim that is filed when someone can be found liable for another’s death even if they didn’t physically end their life.
A wrongful death claim can be made by the family of the deceased if they can find proof that the death of their loved one occurred due to someone’s negligence or fault. It can be, for example, due to a car accident, personal injury, and medical negligence.
The terms to file for wrongful death vary from one state to another, but there are some general requirements across the U.S. The family of the deceased can seek compensation for covering medical expenses, loss of contribution, funeral expenses and their pain and suffering due to the loss that they suffered.
People who can file this kind of case need to be related to the deceased such as a spouse, the children of the deceased or the parents. It is required that you file the claim within two years of the death in New Bern, NC, since taking more time makes your case invalid.
It is best if one seeks legal representation when planning on filing such a case since a wrongful death lawyer in New Bern, NC, can provide much needed legal advice on their options and what they are legally required to provide. He will then gather the details and submit a case, and the legal process can start after which the family also gets the option to settle with the accused or continue to trial.
Common Causes of Wrongful Death
As long as there is proof of carelessness on the part of the accused that caused someone’s death, you can file for wrongful death. Some of the common causes include:
- Car, motorcycle and truck accidents in which the drivers can be directly blamed.
- Medical negligence or carelessness that led to the death of a patient or fetus.
- Work-related injuries as a result of negligence by the employer.
- Fall and slip injuries due to the negligence of a landlord or owner of a property.
- Criminal activities such as robbery with violence or careless shooting.
Elements of a Successful Wrongful Death Suit
If you want to file a case of wrongful death, your case will need to have a few elements without which, it will be difficult to win the case. Your wrongful death lawyer in New Bern, North Carolina, can advise if you are missing any of the elements since you may still be in a position to file successfully.
- There has to be negligence in some form. If a drunk driver causes a pedestrian accident, a landlord who ignores fixing the stairs leading to a slip and fall or a medical doctor that is negligent in his duties to the patient, negligence is a major requirement for a successful case.
- Proof of duty to the deceased. You need to be able to show that the accused had some obligation to the deceased, but they did not fulfill that obligation. For example, doctors must do everything they can to care and treat the patient, if you are able to prove that he did not do this intentionally then your case will have a lot of merits.
- The direct relation between the death and the incident. It is possible to prove that someone was negligent, but sometimes the death may have occurred because of some other completely different reason. This is why it is important to get an autopsy report so as to create a direct between the accused and the deceased legally known as causation; otherwise, you will not have a successful suit.
- Proof of loss. When you file a wrongful death suit, it is usually so you can get compensated for your loved one’s death that affected you in one way or the other. As a result, you need to prove that their death caused a loss that has financial implications. It can be anything from emotional to financial losses.
Statistics on Wrongful Death and How a Wrongful Death Lawyer Can Help You Get Compensation
In a report by the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there were a total of 146,571 unintentional injury deaths in 2013. Of this number, 33,381 were due to unintentional falls, 37,757 were as a result of traffic accidents, and 47,478 were due to unintentional poisoning incidences.
It is recorded that medical negligence causes about 98,000 deaths every year in the U.S. workplace injuries and unsafe premise accounted for 6,000 and 20,000 deaths respectively.
If your family member died as a result of these kinds of negligence, you need an experienced wrongful death lawyer in New Bern, North Carolina, that will help you get the necessary compensation for your family. Compensation does not in any way replace the deceased, but it will go a long way in ensuring that your lives are not too affected especially in the financial area.
The Process of a Wrongful Death Case
When you decide to file a wrongful death suit, the first step is to get yourself a capable wrongful death lawyer in New Bern, North Carolina, since you need to know all the legalities before moving forward. Your wrongful death lawyer will file the case on your behalf and ensure that you get exactly what you are going for along with offering any useful legal advice. The process of litigation is fairly short, whichever way you choose to go.
It is the investigative phase of the trial where each side tries to gather as much proof as possible to support their claim. There are questions which the plaintiff and accused will be required to answer some questions about the case, and this basically helps each side come up with a suitable defense.
The actual work begins in this stage, and it can start by either side filing a number of motions that will help them come up with a better narrative for the case.
The defendant and plaintiff will be asked to answer questions under oath which helps in further strengthening the case. Any documents and files that can be used as proof will be added to discovery such that both sides know exactly what is going on. Depositions are a common part of this process and one of the most important when getting evidence for the case.
During this stage, the plaintiff may also receive a settle-out-of-court offer depending on what was discovered in the litigation phase. Your wrongful death lawyer in New Bern, NC will advise on the best decision to make depending on your situation, but the decision is solely yours to make. You can have your attorney negotiate on your behalf to get a larger compensation, and if you do decide to accept the offer and settle, the case will be dropped and not go to trial. If you refuse the offer the next step is trial but will be preceded by a pre-trial conference which is meant to help the court put things into perspective.
If the case goes to trial, this is the stage where your lawyer needs to be at his best, which is why you need to ensure you have the best legal representation. You will need to have a great narrative for the jury and the judge one that will have the whole court hooked to your side.
You also need your witnesses to show up to testify on your behalf, and this may include expert witnesses that will better tell your story.
The whole trial phase may take quite some time for a wrongful death case, but this is no problem as long as you have a great wrongful death lawyer on your side. If you are successful, you will get a huge settlement that will help cover all your losses.
After a ruling has been made, it is possible for any side to file an appeal if they feel that they did not get justice. When the appeal case has been heard and determined, you can then go ahead and collect your compensation, if awarded.
Settlement or Trial for Wrongful Death Case
Once you have filed the case, there is always the option to settle with the other side, which may not be a bad decision for you. However, you need to get appropriate legal advice from your wrongful death lawyer before making any decision since this is the best way of making sure you get the best.
There are some things that you need to consider before you settle or decide to go to trial:
- The amount that is being offered to settle out of court.
- The costs of going to trial on top of the other expenses that you already have.
- The process before going to trial and how long it will take.
- How long the actual trial may take including any delays.
- Statistics of previous similar cases and their results.
- Evidence already in discovery and whether it favors you or not.
- Possibility of incurring more costs if you lose the case.
- Possible compensation if you win the case.
- The opinion of your Wrongful death lawyer in New Bern, NC.
Advantages of Settling Out of Court
There is a lot to be gained by settling out of court, but you can lose a great deal. This is why you need to carefully evaluate your situation including the following advantages of settling:
- Going to trial is expensive, and you stand to lose much more if you lose the case.
- You save yourself and the family the agonizingly long process of trial.
- You can negotiate to get a higher amount than what was offered.
- Settlement meetings are private, and you can avoid unnecessary publicity.
- The end result is more certain than going to court.
Advantages of Going to Trial for Wrongful Death Case
- You stand to gain full benefits through a larger compensation package.
- You get justice for your loved one, hence closure for your family.
- The defendant is compelled to pay what is ordered by the court.
Types of Damages Awarded in Wrongful Death Claim with a Wrongful Death Lawyer
Wrongful death claims are different and what is awarded depends on the loss that is suffered by the plaintiff. There are several types of damages awarded, and you can have a number of them awarded to you if you are able to prove the losses.
- Medical bills and funeral costs. This is one of the most commonly awarded types of compensation since it is easier to prove. You can get this compensation if the deceased was in the hospital for a lengthy period of time and as a result, there are outstanding medical bills. Funeral costs compensation is also very standard since the deceased has to be buried without costing the family extra.
- Loss of contribution. It is awarded if the deceased had dependents such as a spouse, children, and elderly parents. You can file to be compensated for this by proving that due to the loss of his contribution, the family may undergo undue financial suffering.
- Child care. This compensation is awarded if the diseased had children who have been left without someone to take care of them and may suffer as a result. It also applies when both parents are present as the burden of bringing up the child or children will be heavier without the contribution of the deceased.
- Emotional distress. It is more commonly referred to as pain and suffering. This compensation is rarely awarded since it is not easy to prove that the death caused too much pain for the family. However, if awarded, it is meant to cover for any emotional stress by the family and most especially the immediate family.
- Punitive damages. This is also not so common since one has to prove a lot of intentional carelessness on the part of the accused. However, with the help of your wrongful death lawyer in New Bern, NC, you can come up with a way to prove this to the jury, and you may end up getting a considerable amount.
How Is The Compensation Amount Determined?
A few considerations are made when determining the final amount offered:
- The health of the deceased. Was he perfectly healthy to live a long life?
- Their age and how much they contributed to the family.
- Education level and work experience of the deceased.
- Age and state of the deceased dependents.
- Outstanding medical bills and funeral expenses.
- Total lost benefits such as a pension.
Once all these considerations are made, with the help of financial experts, an amount will be ordered to be paid to the family.
The amount is usually paid by the insurance provider of the defendant, but if they do not have any or enough insurance cover, they will be required to come up with the amount on their own. This may also include the legal fees of the plaintiff’s side.
The compensation amount is usually not taxable. However, if you were awarded punitive damages, then you will be required to pay tax to the IRS.
Tips To Hire the Best Wrongful Death Attorney in New Bern, NC
Having to lose a loved one is hard enough without having to seek justice all on your own. This is why you need a lawyer that will help ensure that you receive what you deserve while you focus on the well-being of your family.
Similar Case Experience
Experience is essential, but it has to be relevant experience since a lawyer can be very experienced but can’t be useful in your case. He needs to have a good understanding of the legal process, what to expect and how to deal with a grieving family. Make sure to do enough research on the potential layers that you have, check for testimonials and follow your instinct.
Up To Date With the Law
The legal field experiences change very fast and a lawyer that had won a great case five years ago might not be of much use to you. You need a wrongful death lawyer in New Bern, NC that are on top of issues and are very active in what is going on in the field and most especially with cases similar to yours.
The lawyer is the advisor in such a case, so he still needs to answer to you and report any changes to you. In case there is an offer on the table, whether they don’t think you should take it or not, they have an obligation to communicate with you. It is easy to know if a wrongful death lawyer is a great communicator right from the first conversation.
Interest in Helping
Your lawyer should be very interested in getting justice for you, and this can be seen through the questions that he asks when you first contact him, and generally how he responds to your situation. You should rest assured that even without your active involvement, he will do whatever he can to get you the best.
Retaining an Experienced Wrongful Death Lawyer
Choosing a good wrongful death lawyer in New Bern, NC, is important as it will determine the outcome. Carolina Law Group lawyers have the necessary experience in helping with wrongful death claims, and we can help you get the kind of compensation that you deserve. Our team is dedicated to every case brought before us, so you can be sure that you are in safe hands. There is no need for your family to suffer unnecessarily, contact a wrongful death lawyer at Carolina Law Group and let us assist you.